Staff Writer

Staff Writer

Julie van der Poel began her career in the IT industry, where over the course of a decade she wrote user documentation and training programs, developed and managed an educational services department, and eventually headed up a marketing team for an internet startup. Her somewhat accidental career shift towards special education came about during her six-year stint as an expat in Europe. Out of necessity, she became a full-time advocate and teaching support for her young son while they lived in Amsterdam. A move to London found Julie working with high school seniors in her son’s special needs school. It was this experience that fueled Julie’s passion for transition issues facing students with developmental and learning disabilities. Upon returning to the United States, Julie became an Independent Living Skills Instructor for postsecondary students. In this role, Julie developed curriculum and taught students everything from money handling and budgeting, to nutrition and household management.

Julie attended Georgia Tech where she earned a B.S. in Management. Julie now resides in Washington, DC with her family and two labradoodles. When she is not writing for Autism After 16, she spends most of her time ensuring that her 16-year-old son with Autism Spectrum Disorder and his exceptionally bright 8-year-old sister are getting appropriate educations.


New Year, New Resolutions

Happy New Year! It's time for resolutions. I'm going to attempt to branch out from my usual ... 

Many Ways to Love

My husband asked me when I was going to write a column about what it was like to not get a hug from your son. 

Shadows of the Fire

For the first time in eight years, I’m beginning to see signs of … what should I call it? 

A Lumpy Assessment

In an earlier column, I mentioned that Cameron was participating in a mentoring program with the Gallup organization, coordinated by Special Olympics. 

Social Integration Going Once, Going Twice ...

No. Just two little letters. So easy to spell, but so hard to say. At least for me anyway. 

Dinner and Dancing

We're that family. That one that has dinner together every night, at an actual table, and the adults at the table do their best to get the offspring to converse.